Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Judith Arcana
Dear Editor,

In the exchange between Ange Mlinko and David Yezzi, Yezzi writes from the assumption that Primo Levi committed suicide in 1987.

Levi's "suicide," though believed in by many biographers, has been called into question by the research of Diego Gambetta, which is well represented in a thorough, even-handed article that appeared in the Boston Review in the summer of 1999, and in an equally persuasive postscript in the spring of 2005.

Many people believe that suicide was the appropriate, even inevitable, response to Levi's Auschwitz experience, despite both lack of evidence in his case and the low percentage of suicides among camp survivors. Their argument should be shelved with Adorno's notorious assertion that after Auschwitz there should be no poetry.

Portland, Oregon

Originally Published: October 27, 2008

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This prose originally appeared in the September 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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